10 Things You Need to Know About: The Australian Classification System

Leigh Harris
10 Things You Need to Know About: The Australian Classification System

No matter how many times specific questions are addressed regarding classification, there are always a few more, so here's a brief overview:

  1. The Classification Board applies the existing guidelines for rating each of the classifiable elements.
  2. It has only this functional role, and does not get to decide what the guidelines are.
  3. When applying a specific guideline such as 'Computer Games at MA15+ may contain violence which is strong in impact', an assessment must be made as to what constitutes 'strong'.
  4. This is done by way of an 'impact test' where all factors of the violence in questions are considered: the lighting, the closeness of the camera to the violence, the realness of the characters involved in the violence, any thematic elements which need to be considered, whether or not there is blood and gore, the frequency with which such violence takes place - a whole raft of things are taken into account.
  5. The Classification Review Board is a separate board which is convened on an ad hoc basis.
  6. The Review Board has the power to overrule a decision made by the Classification Board.
  7. The Review Board convenes when a fee is paid due to a publisher (or minister or member of the public) considering the assessment by the Classification Board to be incorrect. The Review Board's decisions are final, and no second appeal can take place.
  8. A game can be resubmitted for classification if the content has been changed (this occurs whenever a game like Fallout 3 or Saint's Row IV has 'edits' made to the content which is highest in impact.
  9. While MA15+ is a restricted category which minors are not allowed to purchase on their own, it is perfectly legally acceptable for an 18 year old parent or guardian to purchase an MA15+ game for a child of any age.
  10. Regardless of the R18+ rating being implemented, the category for drugs remains with the wording that 'Drug Use cannot be linked to incentives or rewards', which is why, in spite of the R18+ rating being in place, Saint's Row IV was still refused classification.

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Tags: politics , age ratings , Australian Classification , 10 things , Australian Classification Branch

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